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Chevron Tests Hybrid Electric Fueling Barge Chartered in Singapore

hybrid bunker barge
Marine Dynamo operates with a battery system to optimize load and reduce fuel consumption (Chevron)

Published Mar 29, 2024 8:47 AM by The Maritime Executive

 

Chevron is testing operations with a hybrid electric bunker tanker as it explores expanding the use of the technology. The fueling giant looks at the vessel, the Marine Dynamo, which is on charter from V-Bunkers, as a demonstration and proof of concept. The vessel which is being operated by V-Bunker used to supply Chevron customers with fuels in Singapore.

The vessel was one of two hybrid electric bunker tankers built in China and delivered in 2023 to V-Bunkers. The Marine Dynamo is 8,750 dwt and was built by Zhejiang Shenzhou Sunshine Heavy Industry. It arrived in Singapore last summer. 

Classed by Bureau Veritas, the bunker vessels are outfitted with 480 Kwh enter storage systems developed by Shift Clean Energy. According to Chevron, it is expected to consume approximately 20 percent less fuel compared to a conventional tanker as it goes about its operations, which can reduce emissions and costs.

Instead of three auxiliary engines, as a conventional fueling barge this size would have, the barge has two auxiliary engines and an electric power distribution system. During periods of low power consumption, the management system recharges the batteries which provide additional power during high consumption periods. During peak loads, the battery system achieves load shaving supplementing the power to keep the engines at optimal performance. 

 

Marine Dynamo's battery system is about the size of a 20-foot container (Chevron)

 

“We’re looking for opportunities like this to understand new technologies, test capabilities, and collect data to determine if there is broader applicability for our global operations,” said Jennifer Chao, Chevron’s Asia Pacific commercial marine manager. “It’s also helping us take a step forward in our objective to deliver lower carbon and higher returns.

The battery system is slightly smaller than a 20-foot shipping container.  They explained that the current technology does not allow the tankers to run completely on electricity today. However, the vessel has the potential to use onshore charging facilities, which are included in Singapore’s electrification plans. When that becomes available it would permit them to further reduce the use of fuel to power the bunker barge.

“As technology comes along and batteries become smaller and more efficient, hopefully in the not-too-distant future, we’ll have bunker tankers able to operate fully on batteries,” says Varun Kohli, Chevron’s term charterer in Asia Pacific.